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Mia Oately

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Mia Oately is welcoming and energetic at our first meeting, and at each one after that. We chat about art and the process of creating, after which she leaves you feeling inspired and ready to push the boundaries in whatever you are pursuing, realising that you fulfil your own destiny and can make anything happen. 

She’s articulate and concise when she speaks, knowledgeable and has a strong but open opinion of the world. She is open to creativity in all facets of live, including us throwing yellow powder all over her in the sake of art and maybe a little fun.

Here are Mia’s thoughts on being an artist and what inspires her, it might just inspire you too.


What does it mean for you being an artist today? How did you get to this stage in your artistic career?

Mia: I’m excited about being an artist today, where there are so many choices and ways to express yourself, I was fortunate to have had my talent discovered when I was just about to leave Art school and gained representation.

By working hard, and never letting setbacks or the cutthroat nature of the art world get me down I’ve turned that first opportunity into a successful career.


Did you always know you wanted to be an artist? Has it always been an intrinsic part of you?

Mia: Yes art was my first choice, although when I was younger I wanted to be a writer and fashion designer as well. I like to satisfy my urge to write by writing a blog, and keeping thousands of diaries over the years.


What’s involved in the day to day of being a full time artist? Tell me about the discipline or potential lack off and how much do you live it and breath it? Was it a hard commitment to make?

Mia: This year I’m ¾ of the way through producing my second solo exhibition of the year so that means a lot of time is spent painting, just to reach the deadline…. which helps with the discipline.

I get on rolls, where I live and breath it.

I think constantly about the work, and what I’m going to do next. I paint 5-6 days a week, and during those days I’ll spend 1-2 hours answering emails, as well as organize prints and delivery for my limited edition prints that can be purchased online.

Some days I’ll meet up with friends for morning coffee or lunch for a chat to break things up a bit, and get some new inspiration.

During the day I take calls from the village of businesses that you deal with as an artist and sole trader, Galleries, Magazines, Printers, Art transport companies, Art suppliers etc.

I’m very fortunate that I get to paint every day, so for me I feel that making art is an easy commitment to make.


How influential was your time in Europe and the French underground scene on your work?

Mia: It was a special time for me, I met some great people, and enjoyed my time there, artistically and as a life experience, but as an artist I’m more about tomorrow, rather than yesterday.


How influential is Bondi to your work?

Mia: I’m always looking at people in their natural environment, as inspiration for my figurative work, and Bondi gives me a good chance to do that.


I love the vibrant colour and especially the yellows in your work. How important is colour for you?

Mia: Colour is very important. I get inspiration from the colours in the urban landscape, and from nature. I like to mix them up and see how they can be used in figurative painting.


What do you think it is about your work that catches the public’s imagination?

Mia: I’ve been told by people that they love my take on figurative work, It’s fresh, and unique, which excites people who are always looking for something different out there in a sea of sameness.

I have also been complimented on my freedom of line, sensuality in the figures and poses, stunning colours, and rich textures.


Many of your works have an element of sexuality, how do you think sexuality is changing and how is that influencing your work?

Mia: When I started doing nudes I took inspiration from 50’s iconic movie stars such as Bridgette Bardot. Manet’s Luncheon Sur L’herbe was also a big inspiration. The idea moved on when I started to paint people I know and they came and posed for me. The fact that they are women living in today’s time is what’s important. I’m interested in contemporising the traditional subject matter of the nude, and making it relevant to our times. To me my paintings are more about being playful and freedom and sensuality than sexuality.


Do you think it’s important to present people with portraits that evoke and challenge the way they think? 

Mia: Yes of course…. That is the mark of a great artist. I make work to challenge myself, and also there’s a magic feeling that you get when pull off a great painting.

It’s such a rush,
nothing comes close.


Are you working on anything new?

Mia: I’m working on a solo show coming out in Oct in Sydney. I’m excited about the work.

I’ve introduced some interior elements, and have pushed the figures further by using the palette of Australian native birds on them. One figure that I just finished is in the same palette as a canarie and the result is stunning. I’m excited, and looking forward to presenting the work.


To catch Mia’s solo exhibition make sure you pop into the Richard Martin Gallery between the 13th and 27th October this year. We’ll certainly be there with bells on.


Words: Life in the Bubble with Mia Oately

Photographer: Billy Plummer


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